40 thoughts on “Open Forum!

  1. Who issued the talking point memo that tells all media and politicians and pundits to assert that “democracy is at risk” because not everyone in the United States agrees with everything the left and Democrats and the media want? The continued existence of the country is threatened because there are two parties in our two party system. Who came up with this bizarre notion? How can people make these sorts of assertions and not break down in giggles? This is such an obviously planned offensive, how can they not be embarrassed?

      • Sheds a whole new light on the term “news reader.” I wonder whether all those stations are owned by the same media company and they just read whatever editorial stuff is sent down from headquarters.

  2. The most entertaining play I’ve seen in baseball for some time:

    To bring it back to ethics, the Pirates’ manager could have easily blamed the fiasco on first baseman Will Craig, but instead he took responsibility, saying, “Our guy has to know the rule. That’s on me.”

    While this is admirable, shouldn’t a guy who’s playing professional baseball, who’s been playing the game since he was a child, already know the rules by the time he gets to the major leagues? Is such an error really “on” Pirates manager Derek Shelton?

        • Yes, and that’s what the first baseman should have done. He let Baez (the runner) lure him away from the base, in a deliberate move to tie up the ball long enough for the guy on third to make it home and score. A crazy tactic that shouldn’t have worked, but shows some quick thinking on Baez’s part.

  3. Because I’m a small, petty person that can’t help but I-told-you-so when I do.

    Back on the 14th of May, in response to Ohio’s Vax-a-million program, I said:

    “For context, governments have been using the tax code to put financial incentives into various areas, and to an extent, they work, at least in the long term. […] [T]he government of Ohio was given those finds to try to drive pandemic relief, and vaccinations *will* relieve the pandemic.”


    “This will all hinge on how effective it is, because lockdown restrictions are literally killing people; mental health issues and suicide are on the rise. And the economic fallout of these lockdowns are a disaster. The sooner we can get lockdowns lifted, the better.

    I want to be clear: If this is actually effective at getting a material number of people in Ohio vaccinated, it was money well spent.”

    Well…. Two weeks later:

    “In Ohio, the picture is mixed. In the days after the state announced the vaccine lottery, the average number of new vaccinations per day increased to as many as 26,000, up from about 15,000, according to state data, a bump that experts described as meaningful at a time with declining demand nationally. ”

    “Colorado announced its own $1 million vaccine lottery this week, and Oregon is offering a $1 million jackpot, in addition to $10,000 prizes. Elsewhere, state and local officials are getting creative with simple approaches (free beer in Erie County, N.Y.) and fancy ones (dinner with the governor of New Jersey, anyone?).”

    “In a guest essay on Wednesday for The New York Times, Mr. DeWine estimated that the campaign had generated more than $23 million in free advertising for vaccinations, and he cited the program’s success among young people, minorities and rural residents.”

    “Garen Rhome, the health administrator in rural Harrison County, Ohio, where vaccinations increased by more than 140 percent after the lottery was announced, said even a small bump could make a difference.”

    By all means, read the whole thing, they also dug into the criticisms of the program, which I think do a decent job of hashing out most of the arguments made in the post and comments from the May 13 post. Regardless if whether you think it’s ethical to do a lottery like this (and I obviously do), I think the results are in, and it was effective.

    • But is it any way to run a railroad, HT? I don’t remember getting anything for having received the polio vaccine numerous times as a kid, other than maybe a lollipop. Nor do I remember having the ability to opt out of receiving a shot.

      Of course, lotteries and numbers rackets were illegal back then and weren’t run by state governments.

      • Is it a good way to run a railroad? Absolutely.

        You might not remember being able to opt out because you were, as you point out, a kid. But your parents absolutely had the ability to opt out if they were opposed to you getting one, if I recall correctly, after opting out they’d have to homeschool you though… So as opposed to offering a lottery, they were merely blackmailed with your education.

        • I doubt there was an anti-vaxxer lobby back in the ’50s, HT. Polio was a really dread disease and it mostly attacked children. I don’t even recall “home-schooling” being an option. I think it was called “truancy” back then.

          • One of the worst vaccine bungles in history was back in the 50’s and related to Polio: A vaccine producer put a *live* polio virus in their vaccine instead of an inert one, actually giving Polio to the people they vaccinated with that batch. It wasn’t a lot of people, and it only happened once, but the damage was done: There *was* an anti-vaxx lobby before then, but if I had to pick a point in history when that movement picked up steam, that’d be it.

            • I was working off memory… The I underestimated the number of cases…. 40,000.


              “In April 1955 more than 200 000 children in five Western and mid-Western USA states received a polio vaccine in which the process of inactivating the live virus proved to be defective. Within days there were reports of paralysis and within a month the first mass vaccination programme against polio had to be abandoned. Subsequent investigations revealed that the vaccine, manufactured by the California-based family firm of Cutter Laboratories, had caused 40 000 cases of polio, leaving 200 children with varying degrees of paralysis and killing 10.”

              • Vaccines carry some risk, albeit small in % terms. One important vaccine injured enough kids to draw over 4 billion dollars in compensation from 2006-2020. That’s the way it is.

                Mrs. Q got angry with me for saying, in regard to the Wuhan vaccine, ” “Some unlucky people will die.” I’m still not sure why that offended her. That statement is 100% true, and true of all vaccines

                • 100% True, and true of everything. I mean, I’m dealing with the shock of one of my friends dying yesterday. Freak accident, a tree fell on him. There’s very little we can do to prevent that, we’re not going to cut down every tree within 100 yards of where a human might go. Bad reactions to vaccines are so statistically small that I think that my friend’s death is statistically *more* likely. What are you gonna do?

                  • On average, 7300 people die each day in the United States, a country of approximately 330 million people. This whole “stay safe” thing is just wrong. The primary causes of death in the U.S. are cancer and heart disease. Isn’t there blood on Joe Biden’s hands for not preventing this public health catastrophe? Aren’t we supposed to be made to feel “safe” at all times by government action?

                    I think this started with making playgrounds safe around the time I was about done playing on playgrounds. Maybe it’s the trial lawyers. But this mentality is ubiquitous in people forty-five and younger, I’d say. “Be safe,” “fly safe,” “travel safe.” Aside from being grammatically horrid, what do these salutations even mean? Life can be dangerous and (inevitably) fatal. Grow up!

                  • I’m so sorry, HT.

                    For many years, I kept a news clipping that read, “Man killed by Flying Mailbox.” A truck hit a mailbox, and it went airborne, squashing a pedestrian 4 blocks away. My father’s reaction was, “That’s life, son. Better accept it.”

    • Of course, the ethical issue was never whether it would work. Paying people outright to get shots would work. Giving out blow-jobs. The question is how it affects civic culture if the precedent is set that one should wait for compensation before one behaves responsibly and ethically.

      • This was brought up last time too, and my answer is the same: There was no benefit to waiting: The people who were jabbed before the lottery was announced were still entered into it.

        So what you’re suggesting is that a lottery like this would prevent future potential vaccees to en masse hold out on a vaccination so as to force the government into announcing a lottery?


        Let’s move away from vaccines for a second. There’s no inherent reason for instance, for a government to count charitable contributions as a tax deduction. But there was a desire to increase charitable contributions, and so adjustments were made to the tax code to made them partially deductible (at least up here in Canada: 29%) Did that increase charitable contributions? Almost certainly. If the deductions went away would the increased contributions disappear? Some of them sure would. But I doubt all of them would while the potential donors waited on a tax break. The kind of contributions that happened before the tax breaks existed would almost certainly continue because those people weren’t doing it for the tax break to begin with.

        The people who were going to get vaccinated were always going to get vaccinated, because they wanted to be vaccinated. The fence sitters and wealth chasers who were convinced into the vaccine by the lottery were almost certainly never going to get there on their own.

          • Well then pick a different deductible item. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be a tax item. Our systems are riddled with ways that the government nudges people into good behavior. It doesn’t take much imagination to make my point.

            • Again, the issue is rewarding people for not engaging in bad behavior. What’s your example of that? Do we pay people for not speeding? Reward dads who pay their child support? Pay school bullies who don’t beat up kids? Give discounts to those who don’t shoplift?

              • “Do we pay people for not speeding?”

                I’m not sure what vehicle licensing is like in America, but in Manitoba, the answer to this is: Yes, literally.

                We have a merit based vehicle insurance system, for every year you go without a ticket or accident, you get a merit, which takes a percentage off your license and insurance fees. If you get a ticket, you get demerits, which cause your license and insurance fees to increase. I save 25% of the base rate on my license and car insurance because I have the maximum allowed merits.

                But more than that, the alternative to every one of those bad decisions is a punishment.

                Get caught speeding, and you’ll get a ticket.
                Don’t pay child support, and you’ll be found in contempt.
                Bully kids at school and you’ll be suspended.
                Shoplift and you’ll be arrested.

                Are you suggesting that not getting vaccinated should result in consequences? Because I agree that that’d probably be more effective, but I don’t think we’d want to go there even if it would pass legal muster (which it probably wouldn’t).

                • You get fined for speeding, and there are better insurance rates for drivers who don’t speed. But that’s like any of the related benefits of socially responsible behavior.

                  Negative reinforcement for bad behavior is the socially responsible way to encourage ethical behavior. Positive reinforcement for “I will misbehave unless you make it worth my while not to” undermines the entire concept of ethics. It’s a thin line, I agree. But its a line.

                • Even then, the cost of insurance is innately tied to safety of driving. You are simply describing penalty for bad driving in reverse, which is how insurance rates are calculated everywhere. It is a bit of clever marketing calling it a reward for good driving, but nothing more.

                  • By that logic, every benefit is just a negative consequence in reverse. Does it make it better for you to think of this as “Every Ohio citizen is able to participate, but people that haven’t gotten their vaccines are disqualified”?

  4. So, Ethics Alarmists, Chicago has revised its officer chase policy. Officers will no longer be discipline if they don’t give chase to a fleeing suspect. Here is an article from the Daily Wire (take what you will from that . . . ):


    What do we think of this? Will it reduce policing in the name of “safety”? Is it a capitulation to the mob?


    • This is, I suspect, just realigning official policy to match the reality on the ground. That is, in the past year, we’ve seen police departments, especially in large urban centers, demoralized and reticent to engage lawbreakers. No doubt every officer now sees every encounter with a minority as potentially a split-second away from ruining his life. If some cops are already electing to not pursue fleeing suspects, the department has two choices: discipline those officers at a time when headcount is shrinking faster than Chrissy Tiegen’s follower count on Twitter, or make it official policy.

      One can certainly debate the wisdom of the policy itself, but it definitely seems counterproductive to announce publicly that if you run from police, they’re not going to chase after you. I eagerly await the op-eds that are surprised at the increase in crime soon to follow this announcement.

      • I agree. It reminds of Texas legislature actions to legalize open carry and licensed-to-carry firearms. Some of the rationales were, “hey, we’re just legalizing what people are already doing anyway, so . . . ”

        This will be fun to follow, not unlike “Defund the Police” which has resulted in increases in crimes, both violent and nonviolent, especially in Democrat-run cities like Seattle, Portland, Chicago, and New York. Who is surprised by that?


    • From the article: Brown added that the fact that the youths were willing to “risk their lives” to steal his car, “speaks volumes about their economic condition in this city.”

      I’d say it speaks volumes about what the children are learning from the leaders in their communities.

  5. How many times do we need to point out that the MSM is simple the propaganda arm of the DNC?
    The latest installment: High gas and lumber prices are not Joe Biden’s fault. Politico and AP have run with the story and it is being plastered across the country by just about every news outlet.

  6. Click to access CO154253.pdf

    Here’s an interesting story. As far as I can tell Mississippi’s supreme court overturned Public initiative 65 because all 5 districts did not certified it as stated by the state’s constitution. The problem is they only currently have 4 districts (since 2000).

  7. It appears that the intent of the section is that no one or two congressional districts will be able to provide enough votes/signatures to qualify the initiative for the ballot; they wanted it limited so that a fully statewide effort was behind the initiative. The easy answer from my viewpoint is to amend the constitution in the appropriate section so that a fraction with the denominator being the number of Congressional districts in the state at the time the time the initiative is proposed.

    It appears that one could make the argument that the legislature is violating the constitution by not amending the constitution earlier when the districts were reduced to 4. The court appears correct in not making the necessary changes, but deferring to the appropriate branches.

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